Emap eyes home of style bible `The Face'

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The Independent Online
MAGAZINE COMPANY Wagadon, publisher of style titles The Face and Arena, is on the verge of being snapped up by Emap, the multi-national media company, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Neither Emap nor Wagadon were prepared to comment last night. Nick Logan, the creator of The Face and spiritual godfather to the Nineties boom in male magazines, symbolised by the rise of Loaded and Emap-owned FHM, is believed to have been negotiating to sell the company after buying out a 40 per cent stake that was held by the American magazine publisher Conde Nast. Wagadon also publishes Arena Homme Plus, Frank and Deluxe.

Mr Logan's legendary touch as the arbiter of cool in the Eighties and most of the Nineties has come unstuck recently. The Face and Arena, though still believed to be profitable, have seen circulation slip in recent years. More recently, Wagadon encountered a tough time with the launch of Frank, a new woman's titlewhich eschewed the usual relationship fodder at the heart of most women's magazines.

After six months, Frank was turned into a quarterly after failing to make less than half its launch target of 100,000 sales.

Emap is having teething problems of its own with Heat, the recently launched weekly entertainment and listings guide. Heat has fallen well short of a targeted 100,000 sales per week and has undergone a recent reorganisation.

Just why The Face and Arena have slid is something of a mystery but whatever the cause, The Face has lost 29 per cent of its sales over the past year and now sells about 70,000. Arena has endured similar losses. If cool is now passe, it still remains possible to launch style titles.

Last year, Wallpaper was sold by its founder Tyler Bruler to Time/Warner for pounds 1m a few months after launch and the title continues to grow strongly.

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